Game Sixty-Two – Cubs 1, Nationals 4
WP – Max Scherzer (8-4) LP – Kyle Hendricks (4-6) Save – Shawn Kelley (1)
Addison Russell broke up Max Scherzer’s bid for a perfect game with a long home run in the sixth inning. The Cubs managed only one other hit, a double from Anthony Rizzo. Max Scherzer brought his A-game to the park Monday night and the Nationals took the opener of the three game series from the Cubs.
Max Scherzer wanted to pay the Cubs back for beating his brains in at Wrigley Field last month. And that’s exactly what the veteran right-hander did on Monday night. Scherzer struck out eight of the first nine he faced (four looking, four swinging) and retired the first 16 batters before Russell’s sixth inning homer.
The Cubs managed only two hits off Scherzer in seven innings. Scherzer had nine strikeouts after four innings and finished the night with 11 strikeouts and no walks.
The Cubs struck out a season-high 16 times on Monday at Nationals Park and a total of two hits and zero walks in nine innings.
Kyle Hendricks pitched as would be expected through the first five innings. Hendricks kept up with Max Scherzer as he struck out one Cub after the other. Free passes are what really did in Hendricks on Monday night. For as good as Hendricks has been this season, he must pitch ahead in the count. Hendricks was not able to and it cost him a run in the third inning.
Jayson Werth walked with one out and went to third on a single to center by Bryce Harper. Dexter Fowler’s throw hit Werth and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead on the error. With the way Scherzer was pitching that one run felt like 10.
Hendricks got out the third without allowing Harper to score from second. Murphy flied out to left and Zimmerman popped out to Zobrist. Hendricks retired the Nationals in order in the fourth.
The Cubs defense let Hendricks down again in the fifth inning. But to Hendricks’ credit he was able to get out of a bases loaded jam without allowing the Nationals to score.
Ben Revere reached on an error by Russell with one out. Russell drifted into shallow left to catch a pop fly. The ball hit off his glove and Revere reached. Revere stole second with Werth at the plate. Hendricks walked Werth and put two on with one out for Harper. Hendricks made one his best pitches of the game. Harper flied out to Coghlan in left center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out.
Joe Maddon played head games with the Nationals again. With runners on first and second with two down, Maddon had Hendricks intentionally walk Daniel Murphy to load the bases for Zimmerman.
And Hendricks struck out Ryan Zimmerman swinging on a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.
Max Scherzer took the hill in the sixth inning with a perfect game intact … and leading 1-0. Scherzer retired Montero on a grounder to short for the first out.
Addison Russell put together an excellent at-bat. Russell worked a full count before launching a solo homer to left on the ninth pitch from Scherzer. Russell tied the game at one and broke up the perfect game, no-hitter and shutout all with one swing. Scherzer retired Hendricks and struck out Fowler swinging to end the inning.
Kyle Hendricks stayed in for the sixth inning and the Nationals took advantage of his poor location.
Wilson Ramos drove a 1-0 pitch to deep right. Jason Heyward went back to the wall and almost made a sensational leaping catch. The ball popped out off his glove and the solo home run gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Heyward was visually upset that he did not make the catch.
Before Maddon could get Hendricks out of the game, Anthony Rendon doubled to left. Chris Coghlan took a bad angle and Rendon ended up at second. Danny Espinosa singled to left. Coghlan had no play at the plate but made the throw any way. Rendon scored and Espinosa moved to second. Scherzer bunted Espinosa to third. Maddon went to his pen for Justin Grimm.
Ben Revere, of the .211 hitting Reveres, ripped a single to right. Espinosa scored and closed the book on Hendricks. After Revere swiped second, Werth rolled out to Bryant at third. Revere went to third but was stranded when Bryce Harper lined out to Heyward in right.
Kyle Hendricks was charged with four runs, three earned, on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Hendricks made 95 pitches, 62 for strikes, in 5 1/3 innings.
The Nationals did not add on against Justin Grimm in the seventh. And Clayton Richard retired three of the four batters he faced in the eighth.
The Cubs had their second off night on the road trip and lost a game.
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 43-19 on the season.
The Cubs turn to John Lackey on Tuesday night to quiet the Nationals. Dusty Baker is scheduled to send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the hill.